Christmas Carroll Eve: a tradition of celebration

December 6th, 2012

As you are rushing to the stores, cramming in some last minute studying and preparing to go home for the holidays, wouldn’t you enjoy taking a break to come together with your John Carroll family?

It is that time of the year again to share the joyful holiday spirit with those at our JCU home on campus. Break out your elaborate, and often ridiculous, Christmas sweaters, cozy up in some gloves, and sport some reindeer-covered socks for this year’s Christmas Carroll Eve.

According to Barbara Kingsbury, administrative assistant at the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Christmas Carroll Eve began in its simplest form with Jim Lavin, the VP for student affairs, in the late ’70s with a Mass and breakfast. Lavin and his family would make homemade wreaths using pine cones from his farm, and they would decorate the whole cafeteria.

It evolved into its present form in 1988; when Lisa Heckman became the first director of student activities. Kicking off this event is some music to celebrate the season—the Christmas Carroll Concert in Kulas Auditorium.

This Saturday, Dec. 8, starting at 7:30 p.m. are the voices of John Carroll’s very own Schola Cantorum and Cecelia Singers. Cynthia Caporella, the director of liturgical music and musical arts, is now in her 19th year at John Carroll. Caporella spoke with great enthusiasm for her choirs’ approaching performances.

There are several featured male and female soloists singing in the Carpenter’s tune “Merry Christmas Darling,” and also the “Christmas Lullaby” and “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year.”

Caporella noted that one of her favorite pieces is the ending number, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
“As far as the repertoire,” she said, “a lot of it resonates with me. I enjoy creating a seamless flow from one piece to another at the concert.”

Following a brief intermission with cookies and fair trade hot cocoa, the dynamic JCU Jazz Band, the a cappella groups Rhapsody Blue and the Sweet Carrollines and the graceful John Carroll Dance Ensemble will take to the stage.

After the wonderful group performances, the Sweet Carrollines and Rhapsody Blue will join the pep band in a Carroll sing-a-long in the LSC Atrium with an animated reading of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Caporella noted that a perfect end to the festivities is the Mass at the end of the night, which is “a great way to experience the community of Carroll.” She said jokingly, “I don’t mind the food after either.”

Following the tree lighting ceremony, the Christmas Carroll Eve Mass will commence at the Church of the Gesu, bringing the whole festivity full circle. Ultimately, Caporella feels that the Carroll Christmas Eve experience is a “great time to be grateful for all of the blessings we’ve been given, for through music, hearts forms bonds that are inexplicable, but very strong.”